Spiritual Disciplines Seminar Growing The Church In Tanzania...

This year we are experimenting with a rotating seminar on Spiritual Disciplines. Here's how it works. I have the introductory lesson explaining the concept of how spiritual disciplines work to cause growth in the Christian. On the first Sunday of each month, I'll present this lesson at a different congregation. Then over the next 12 weeks preachers from other area congregations will come and present lessons on specific disciplines. In this manner, the same series will be presented to 13 different congregations in a span of a little more than a year. I'm excited about the concept, and I think it will be a blessing to the churches here.

Today we had the pleasure of visiting the Mtu wa Mbu ("Mosquito River") church. This congregation is a pretty far distance from the house, so we left early in the morning prepared for a long day. However, this congregation is always so welcoming that we also felt sure that it would be a good day.

Gasper Julius and his wife Selena did not disappoint. Gasper, the preacher there, greeted us warmly and made us feel right at home. This is a rural church so the environment is different from most of the churches that we get to work with. We enjoyed the change of pace.

As she has learned to anticipate, Tiffany was asked if she would be willing to teach the children's class. She gladly obliged and put her skills to work. It's not alway easy though. In the middle of class, Levi (our 2 year old) sees a mongoose outside. So naturally he runs out the door to investigate. In the midst of his hot pursuit, Levi falls and skins his hand. This brings about great weeping, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth. But never fear, big sister swoops to the rescue and Mom continues class.

Meanwhile, I am teaching the adult class, then preaching the morning sermon. Mtu wa Mbu is out in Maasai country, and they have several members who do not speak or understand Swahili. Therefore, everything that I said had to be translated twice - once into Swahili, and once into Kimasaai. The lessons were well received, and one young lady decided to be baptized.

As I just mentioned, a girl was going to put on her Lord in baptism. That's the good news. The bad news is that the baptistry would have to be filled by hand via a water bucket brigade. This took about an hour, so we had some time to kill.

The kids played. Levi spent time with his new BFF, Daniel (great name, don't you think?). They couldn't talk to each other but they played hand and hand all over the grounds. Ah the sweet innocence of children. 

Speaking of children, Tiffany was surrounded by them as usual. She's always had a magic touch with kids. Our kids are very lucky to such a great mom. 

At last, there is enough water in the baptistry. We rejoice with the angels of heaven as Sophia is added to the body of Christ!

Then the preacher's wife, Selena, feeds us a quick, delicious lunch. Satisfied, we head off on our way merrily. Mtu wa Mbu happens to be practically next door to the Lake Manyara National Park. We haven't been there since we moved to Tanzania, so we decided that we might as well take an afternoon drive through the park.  

 Mtu wa Mbu is the home of the famous red bananas, so we grab some for a snack while we drive.

The park offered some nice scenery, and baby monkeys are adorable.  

After stopping for a snack at the picnic area, we had some car trouble. It just wouldn't start. That's not what you want to happen while hanging out in a park where lions live. A worker suggests that we try to push-start it. What do we have to lose? So we push the truck down a hill while trying to start it. Yeah, that didn't work. So we flag down a passing safari truck and ask for a jump. No luck.

By this point, I'm ready to scream. 

Then I remember something. Earlier in the day, one of my children (who shall remain nameless, but she knows who she is) broke the truck key. There is a security chip in the fob portion of the key that prevents the car from starting without it being near the ignition. So I just had to hold the remote in my hand while turning the small portion. It cranked right up, and we're on our way.

The drive continues without further problems and we have a pleasant afternoon. On the way out of the park, Abby notices a guy randomly dancing on the side of the road without any music. Of course, we crack up at the sight. Luckily, a camera was handy so we recorded the action. I've shared it with you below. Just for fun, I added a little sound track for you. You're welcome.

After a long drive home, it is time to eat a snacky supper, and unwind while we watch an Andy Griffith DVD. That's a great ending to a great day. The day required a good bit of patience, but we were rewarded with some wonderful experiences. I hope that your Sunday is a great one as well!

Daniel Gaines

To see Daniel’s report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on March 1, 2015 .